Tom Ross: The presidential candidates are messin' with the blues

Tom Ross

Tom Ross

Tom Ross' column appears in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or

Find more columns by Tom here.

— Did you watch the final presidential debate last night? Me, too. Sick of all of the political ads dispersed throughout the post-debate analysis on TV? That makes two of us.

There’s another piece of good news. I haven’t received a single robo call this election cycle. That’s what dropping your landline will do for you.

And thank goodness the candidates for president don’t have my cellphone number. President Barack Obama already sends my wife letters and comes on like they’re old friends from the south side of Chicago. And would she please send money?

Excerpts from a recent letter to my wife from President Obama include: “Judith, everything that brought you into this movement, everything we’ve achieved and, crucially, all that lies ahead is on the line. ... Judith, we’ve been together for a while now. We’ve been through so much — and accomplished so much — together. But we’ve also got so very much to do — and I can’t do it alone.”

With all respect, President Obama, I don’t want you to be alone. But Judith and I have been together longer than you two, and you don’t know Judith like I know Judith. So leave that little gal alone.

If the letters weren’t enough, now the candidates are messing with my music!

Just as I settled into a good writing groove at work Monday with my favorite Internet music channel on Pandora, President Obama broke my concentration by slipping in an ad blasting Gov. Mitt Romney for dumping on the 47 percent of Americans who never will vote for him.

This really happened. The president flashed an advertisement on Pandora that criticized Romney for paying a lower tax rate than many Americans, and at the very same time, Eric Clapton was singing “Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself” off his live acoustic album. That’s creepy. Do you think Pandora planned that?

A few minutes later, I switched to the Buddy Guy channel because all the campaign ads were giving me the blues. Then Buddy started wailing, “The dollar done fell!” from his "Live at the Checkerboard Lounge" album.

Buddy Guy, I feel your pain, brother.

Just then, up pops a Romney ad: “America’s Military Strength is vital. Send $5!” Five dollars? Does that buy a bullet?

Shhhhh! The Obama campaign doesn’t have my email address at work. It’s the Romney campaign that is stuffing my inbox with messages about every campaign appearance imaginable.

If Romney’s dog, Seamus, is going to appear in Flagler on Thursday, I’ll receive at least one press release reminding me that I’ll need to show my press credentials if I want to attend his speech. OK, I made that one up. And it’s also not true that Seamus travels to pressers in a kennel strapped to the top of an Escalade.

But it is true that for a small-town reporter, I receive an inordinate number of press releases from Romney HQ.

My inbox shows that on Saturday alone, I received Romney press releases at 7:14 a.m., 9:25 a.m., 10:47 a.m. and 10:55 a.m. At that point, some lady at headquarters named Alison Hawkins took a long lunch break before the press releases resumed at 3:08 p.m. and 3:24 p.m., when the Romney staff went out for an afternoon tea party in Boston.

One of those Saturday press releases alerted me to the fact that Mr. Jeff Foxworthy was attending a Sportsmen’s Victory Event at the El Paso Victory Center in Colorado Springs on Saturday morning. That’s V for victory.

Foxworthy? The comic who became famous for that hilarious string of jokes that riffed on the line “you might be a redneck if ...”? That’s a prized endorsement? Doesn’t that provide fodder for a lot of inappropriate jokes at the expense of Gov. Romney?

I can’t believe the president didn’t jump all over that one at last night’s foreign policy debate. I’ll let you fill in the blank.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

Community comments

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(rhys jones) highwaystar says...

Those "debates" were a farce -- more like a Morality Play, each puppet reciting the party song... neither one answering the question posed, but rather using it as a launching pad for their latest tirade, which they hope evolves into a sound bite... long on generalities, short on detail... the ultimate "photo op" where style is more important than substance... of course neither candidate can make specific promises, as they have no idea what the Federal Reserve will tell them to do next (shipping all the jobs to China is just part of "globalization" where borders dissolve and we adopt a world economy -- in which EVERYBODY has an account in a Federal Reserve bank -- MUST, in fact -- but I digress) besides all that, they always held the debates on nights where there were also great sports going on -- something that truly matters, and the outcome is not scripted -- so in each case, there was no contest. I didn't even peek at the debate last night.

I gave up on Pandora too, once I realized I didn't like their computer's assessment of my musical tastes -- because if you can get Pandora, you can get WWOZ, the best music on the planet, around the clock. It's NPR, but no pinko rhetoric (spoken as a true pinko) just great music, 24/7. Each DJ is a volunteer, there are no playlists, and many bring their own -- and borrowed -- vinyl, in to their show with them -- and the shows vary by DJ, maybe Dixieland, maybe jazz, and a strong influx of Delta Blues, rock, and bluegrass. After a while you get to learn the DJ's and when they're up, and Friday night, 6-9 Mountain time, the Black Mole (sounds very white to me) plays the best damn music you never heard before. I schedule my week around it.

Forget politics; if I have enlightened one music lover to the best source ever, I have done my good deed for the day.

Posted 23 October 2012, 8:25 a.m. Suggest removal

(cindy constantine) cindyconstantine says...


Thanks for starting my day with a BIG smile!!! Loved every word of it. And where are viable 3rd party candidates when you need them?????????

Posted 23 October 2012, 8:36 a.m. Suggest removal

(rhys jones) highwaystar says...

Darn it, I misspoke again -- it's Black MOLD, the Friday DJ who lights it up -- often does a Friday daytime show too. Missy also does great blues. Thurs 6-9; Gene & Neil play a lot of old-time classics and sleepers, Tuesday nights, might go back to the '20's; Jamie throws a lot of classic TV & movie sound bites into his Saturday night show, including heavy Firesign Theatre, then after that, the next DJ sounds like he's tripping, but DANG he plays good stuff!!

Y'all can wallow in misery if you want, pointing fingers and getting your undies in a bunch -- me, I'm just gonna rock out!!

Posted 23 October 2012, 8:45 a.m. Suggest removal

(Brian Kotowski) Sep says...

Cindy - there are no viable 3rd party candidates. Never have been, never will be.

Posted 23 October 2012, 9:16 a.m. Suggest removal

(cindy constantine) cindyconstantine says...

I know, Sep, just wishful thinking on my part. Maybe during my grandchildren's lifetime . . . . . ..

Posted 23 October 2012, 9:28 a.m. Suggest removal

(Brian Kotowski) Sep says...

A nice link to more than 5,000 stations streaming live from all over the world:

Posted 23 October 2012, 9:51 a.m. Suggest removal

(rhys jones) highwaystar says...

Sep -- Whew, it took all day and night, but I checked 'em all out, and yup, the OZ is still the best -- although if the DJ gets into show tunes or street jazz, I might bail to KUNC if it's during the daytime (music, no rhetoric). Later today looks like a good blues lineup; right now it's show tunes.

See, I like to hear stuff I've never heard before, and when you get to be my age, that gets harder and harder to do. ;-) (ESPECIALLY in politics)

Posted 24 October 2012, 8:16 a.m. Suggest removal

(Brian Kotowski) Sep says...

As the geekiest of jazz geeks, the European links are especially welcome in my world. Too many American jazz stations have become museums, focusing on music from the last century by musicians who are all dead.

Posted 24 October 2012, 10:39 a.m. Suggest removal

(rhys jones) highwaystar says...

The thing I like about the Oz is, they play a lot of New Orleans and Louisiana originals, which is sort of the melting pot of music these days, lots of great stuff I've never heard before and never will again. I came at jazz late in life, cutting my teeth on rock'n'roll, and to this day fusion and other seemingly random jazz just drives me nuts. Jelly Roll Justice does a righteous jazz show, but lately they've got him doing Sun-Tue-Thur late-late (or M-W-F early-early).

I've only been to New Orleans once, for one day, with Dad trying to push my wares... we found ourselves in Jackson Square with about 20 musicians of all stripes doing an impromptu jam session -- one would step forward for their solo, just like the kayakers in the "D" hole -- and it was magical, including a sousaphone you could feel thump you, and a female vocalist who could hold a note forever.

Some day, when my boat comes in, I could spend a lot of time in that town, it is a musical mecca. Now back to the grind...

Posted 24 October 2012, 10:57 a.m. Suggest removal

(Brian Kotowski) Sep says...

If you're not already hip to it, I heartily recommend "Live From Daryl's House": The brainchild of Daryl Hall; a once monthly internet show shot at Hall's home in upstate NY. Each episode features an invitee (primarily younger artists not especially well-known) whom Hall believes deserve to be heard. They show up at his place & jam. Extremely well done.

Posted 24 October 2012, 11:19 a.m. Suggest removal

(rhys jones) highwaystar says...

Nice, Sep, I'll check it out. Being caught in a time warp, my first love is '60's and 70's rock'n'roll, from the Eagles to Floyd, and I'd love to start an XM or similar station I'd call "Side B" where we only played the stuff which never made radio playlists, but is great nonetheless. Guys with ties in offices decided what we heard on the radio back then. The whole Doobie Brothers album "Stampede" is a prime example; it wasn't released 'til after they had broken up and rearranged, so plugging the old band served no point -- while that may be their best effort.

Music is the spice of life, and for Dixieland, bluegrass, Cajun, and good ol' Delta Blues, the OZ is hard to beat. Sounds like you're an afficionado too, so rock on!!

Posted 24 October 2012, 4:31 p.m. Suggest removal

(rhys jones) highwaystar says...

Man, I had to go back three days to find anything national in this forum; it seems nothing matters south of Toponas in this publication. My Mom had to tell me about the storm havoc back East, my head buried in code lately, mighty OZ my companion, where music rules -- "more platter, less chatter" as they say. That said...

For an amusing take on Presidential elections and electoral precedent, see

and don't forget to hover your mouse when you're done for an extra punch line.

Enjoy!! :-)

Posted 28 October 2012, 12:43 p.m. Suggest removal

(rhys jones) highwaystar says...

Hey Sep -- Working late, got the OZ dialed up, and we've got an unusual Monday night appearance by Jelly Roll, spinning some great stuff, in case you're still up...

Posted 29 October 2012, 10:21 p.m. Suggest removal

(Brian Kotowski) Sep says...

Not present or accounted for, sadly. Submitted for your consideration -

Some latter-day bluegrass:

A Filipino black belt in front of a Steinway:

And finally: a moment of silence, please. For the fish.
PETA wants memorial where fish died in Irvine car crash

“Although such signs are traditionally reserved for human fatalities, I hope you’ll make an exception because of the enormous suffering involved in this case, in order to remind drivers that all animals – whether they’re humans, basset hounds or bass--value their lives and feel pain,” Kourda wrote.

Posted 30 October 2012, 10:49 a.m. Suggest removal

(rhys jones) highwaystar says...

Thanks Sep, I never knew Nickel Creek had a girl (admitting ignorance) and the guy banged the keys real good; sorry I didn't check out the fish stuff yet, fires still burning.

Just thought I'd mention, the Kitchen Sink (everything) show on OZ tonight at 9 is usually pretty good, if you're not otherwise distracted by then (though lately they've been doing lots of off-the-wall spooky stuff in the PM) the little Trick-or-Treaters safe at home, Nuggets happily 1-0. (20 minutes, Altitude, O Ye Faithful)

Happy Halloween, everyone!!

Posted 31 October 2012, 4:41 p.m. Suggest removal

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